Bujumbura’s mothers make a difference

Promoting the psychosocial wellbeing of vulnerable groups

We have just come back from visiting the MEO Lino Lava Center, which we support since 2012, in Bujumbura, Burundi.

The center is located in Cibitoke, one of the northern suburbs of the city. It was set up to create a safe and secure gathering place for children, mothers and war orphans, and to address emergencies in the fields of nutrition, healthcare, education and psychosocial support.

Today, the center offers psychological support, education and healthcare as the starting points for children and teenagers to gain conscience of the reality they live in. This conscience will enable them to take back the right to study and develop the skills needed to face the challenges that adulthood holds for them.

The center’s activities are characterized by direct involvement and the empowering of mothers. Mothers are accompanied daily through an educational path planned out to enforce their child-caring capacities by regaining, first, their own personal dignity.

For them to be able to do develop and grow, they are offered alphabetization, reading and writing courses, algebra, and even a course on credit and savings. With this practical base, women are able to create co-operatives, take out small loans and start small income-generating activities.

When we met with them, they told us how, thanks to this training and the equivalent of 5 euro, they had been able to regain faith in their own worth and their children’s respect.

Some of these mothers nurture the dream of buying a small plot of land and building a respectable house for their children. Others aim towards expanding their business, and others still would like to study French. But none of the women we spoke to asked us for any form of material aid. They asked us to continue helping them learn, to become more responsible and independent and involve more mothers in their activities.

They bid us farewell saying that the next time we visited, we would see them closer to the objectives they have planned for themselves and their children.

To us, this is development.